Why Do People Vote? An Experiment in Rationality
The study presents the findings of an experiment conducted during the 1993 Canadian federal election campaign. Students in two universities were exposed to a ten-minute presentation about the rational model of voting and the 'paradox' that so many people vote when it is apparently irrational on a cost-benefit basis. Our data indicate that exposure to the presentation decreased turnout in the election by seven percentage points. This result contributes to the debate about the effect of rational-choice models on real political behavior. More important, the experimental panel data permit the presentation's effect to be decomposed, and this helps explain why people do vote. In this study, turnout was reduced mainly because the presentation diminished the respondents' sense of duty, an effect that was indirect, because there was no reference in the presentation to such motives. Framing the voting act in rational-choice terms induced some students to reconsider whether they should feel obliged to vote. Copyright 1999 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:99:y:1999:i:1-2:p:39-55. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Guenther Eichhorn)or (Christopher F. Baum)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.